Friday, October 07, 2005

Next Step Uranium Enrichment, Says Iran's Foreign Minister

Khaleej Times Online:
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Friday that the next step by Iran in its nuclear programme is to be starting the uranium enrichment process in the Natanz plant in central Iran.

We want to take the next step which will be the uranium enrichment process in Natanz,” Mottaki was quoted by the Mehr news agency as saying. READ MORE

The foreign minister said that although Iran wanted further negotiations and would remain committed to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but would not give in to any demands for stopping nuclear technology.

If the politicised IAEA resolution is not corrected, then we see no reason to continue our voluntary moves, such as implementing the IAEA additional protocol,” Mottaki said, referring to a draft bill approved in the Iranian parliament obliging the government to suspend the additional protocol.

The IAEA in a resolution last month called on Iran to stop uranium conversion in the Isfahan plant in central Iran or otherwise face its case being referred to the United Nations Security Council.

Iran has so far rejected the IAEA resolution and warned with harsh reaction if the Iran case is referred to the UNSC.

Meanwhile thousand of Iranians staged a state-organised rally on Friday against the opponents of Iran’s nuclear programmes, shouting that Iran would never give up its nuclear ambitions.

The demonstrators demanded Western acknowledgment of Iran’s undeniable right for nuclear technology as signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

While shouting “Death to America” and “Death to England”, the crowd called on an immediate stop to Western opposition and threats against Iran.

The rally came a day after Iranian media had reported that Teheran had declared the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana as persona non grata in the next round of talks with the EU due to his “negative attitude” toward the Iranian nuclear programme.

The news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed official close to the Iranian negotiating team as saying that Iran also had chosen not to invite Solana to the next round of talks with the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany.

But the official did not say when or where the next talks would be held with the EU trio.